I would like to tell the story of a man and his horse. I would like it to have a happy ending with them both riding off into the sunset. I can't tell that story because of a haywire gene. One that could have been controlled had we known about it but we didn't. I hate to plead ignorance but its the only excuse I can live with.
It took awhile for my husband to give me the OK to buy a horse. He was a true blue fly fisherman and spent every spare moment on the water. We purchased Fancy in November of 2002. She was a beautiful 2 year old chestnut filly Quarter Horse. I spent the first few months riding easy because of her tender years. I felt she was too young to be ridden much. By the following spring I needed to take her to a trainer to be finished. Much to my glee my husband decided to take her and get some riding lessons while training Fancy himself. Long story short Fancy became his horse. That's where this story becomes his. He had never owned a horse and knew little about them so he and Fancy learned together. The bond between them grew beyond my expectations. I gained a riding partner but lost Fancy to my husband. I had to find a horse of my own, but that is my story not his.
We spent the next year exploring the country side by horseback. The weekends spent alone while he was fishing were a thing of the past. We had a common growing love of all things equine. Fancy was becoming a fine trail horse and my husband a good horseman, gaining the confidence and knowledge they needed together.
Then one fall day I went out to feed our girls and Fancy seemed to just tip over against the fence. I couldn't get her to stand up. I ran to the house in a panic and got my husband. We both tried to get her up and after 30 minutes of pulling screaming and even beating her she stood. We were dumbfounded as to what could possibly have caused her to behave that way. That's when we heard the dreaded words HYPP or Impressive Syndrome from the breeder we had purchased her from. It is a genetic defect that I feel was purposely bred into Quarter Horses. It is what gives them the giant musculature so prized in halter class competitions. It also was very prevalent in Fancy's bloodline, she was Impressive bred on both sides. The breeder told us it was no big deal (of course). We just had to adjust her feed. We started feeding her a special diet, but the summer of her 4th year was the last she would see. It was 4th of July weekend, I went out to feed as usual and found Fancy down in the middle of the pasture. I don't know how long she had been down this time. I assume she went down in the night. After about an hour of trying to get her up we called the vet. He had treated Impressive horses before and didn't have much hope to give us. He gave her the prescribed treatment even getting any updated info from the state veterinary college. He told us they usually get up after the first treatment...she didn't. The Temperatures went into the 100's, we took patio umbrellas out to protect her from the sun. She could still lift her forequarters enough to take a drink and eat a bit.
Day 2 after spending the night by her side in the grass, my husband moved the camper out to the pasture. He wouldn't leave her not even to eat or sleep. The Vet came out again for another treatment. The prognosis wasn't looking good he told me away from my husbands hearing. He said she may not get up again and if she did her riding days would be over. She could hardly lift herself to drink. We moved bales of straw out to brace against her when she did try to rise. The neighbors came over to help us turn her so the sores she was getting wouldn't worsen. My husband spent hours bending her legs so the muscle wouldn't atrophy. Another night in the pasture with her keeping the coyotes away.
Day 3 she wouldn't rise at all she was played out. Another call to the vet one more treatment, we couldn't give up although he told us it was over. We wanted one more day
Day 4 the call to the vet, the shot, the tears. The loss of our friend
She was only 4 we loved her, we love her still. She is buried where she died. We have since gotten 2 Kentucky Mountain Saddle horses so we continue to ride. I would like to thank Fancy Me Quest for giving me back my husband, for giving me joy and for renewing my love of horses.
She wasn't a great prize winner and would never win a race, but she was our friend. We love you Fancy wherever you are.